Mini Labradoodle: The Miniature Poodle Labrador Retriever Mix

By now most of us have heard of the wildly popular Labradoodle mix but did you know this lovable designer dog also comes in smaller sizes? As the name suggests, The Mini Labradoodle is a smaller-scaled version of this beloved hybrid. The Mini Labradoodle gets their tiny build by breeding a Labrador Retriever with a toy or miniature Poodle.

By getting a smaller version of the labradoodle, you are getting all the best traits of the regular sized version in a much smaller package.  The Mini Labradoodle has become very popular over the last few years, and is becoming a very popular choice for families in the United States.

The larger Labradoodle counterpart is known for being loving, intelligent and very friendly. This mini version may be smaller, but size doesn’t matter when it comes to these wonderful traits! You’ll get equal the amount of love while benefiting from a compact, portable pup who takes up less space and some may argue is even cuter!

Parent Breeds

Designer dogs are the puppies of two different purebred parents bred specifically to produce a new hybrid mix. The creation of the Labradoodle, a mix between a purebred Labrador Retriever and a purebred Poodle, had a lot to do with popularizing this practice which has continued to gain traction over the last 20 years. Thanks to this approach, there are hundreds of new and improved breeds on the market!

Designer dogs can inherit different traits from either parent making them a less predictable option for prospective dog owners as it’s more difficult to anticipate their appearance and temperament. Learning about her more consistent parent breeds is a good place to start in understanding a Mini Labradoodle. So let’s take a deeper look into the Labrador and the Poodle.

Labrador Overview

The Labrador was recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1917 as part of the sporting group which is described as “friendly, active and outgoing.” Due to their trainability and happy disposition, the Labrador has not only become one of the most popular breeds of dogs (this breed has consecutively ranked number 1 by the AKC since 1991!) but this mix is also a welcomed choice as a Service Dog. The Mini Labradoodle is a medium-to-large sized canine, measuring in at 55 to 80 pounds and 21.5 to 22.5 inches. This breed has an average life expectancy of 10 to 12 years.

The roots can be traced to Newfoundland, Canada where this mix was bred to be an agile duck retriever. The breed popularity took off once it was taken to England in the 1800s and marketed as a capable hunting companion. Present day Labradors are still used for hunting purposes but they really shine in a home as a treasured companion pet.

Miniature Poodle Overview

Both Miniature and Toy Poodles are recognized by the American Kennel Club with the Miniature described as “active, proud and smart,” and the Toy characterized as “agile, intelligent and self-confident.” These compact alternatives to the Standard Poodle were bred down in size to produce a city-friendly companion pup. The Mini stands between 10 to 15 inches in height and weighs between 10 to 15 pounds. To be considered “toy” this mix must not be taller than 10 inches and weighs between 4 to 6 pounds. Both have an average lifespan of 10 to 18 years.

Despite holding residence as France’s national dog, the Poodle actually originated in Germany as a skilled duck hunter. The Standard poodle was recognized by the AKC in 1887 and has since been bred down in size to produce the Miniature and Toy Poodle, with the Toy Poodle first coming on the scene in America in the early 20th century. Although the Poodle has a “prim and proper” persona in both the media and public perception, this breed actually is quite active, outgoing and even silly.

The Mini Labradoodle

Labradoodles were first bred in Australia in the 1970s in attempts to produce a more hypoallergenic therapy and service dogs. It was thought that the disposition of the Lab and the non-shedding coat of the poodle could create an alternative for those who required an assistive animal but suffered from pet allergies. This experiment went on to create one of the most popular designer dogs ever!

Much like their Poodle parent, Labradoodles have been bred down in size since their inception to produce a miniaturized version and provide a tiny alternative of this beloved breed. Over the years, the Mini Labradoodle was born. This mix continues to make a distinguished family pet and smaller stature allows them to be more adaptable and accessible.

Appearance

As is common with many designer dogs, a Mini Labradoodle’s appearance can vary based on which parent’s genes your pup happens to favor. It’s important to note that a “Mini” Labradoodle might not be so miniature once they are fully grown. Check out the section on size for a comprehensive breakdown on what to expect from a Mini Ladradoodle’s sizing.

The most sought after Labradoodle aesthetic is a pup with a Poodle coat and Labrador features. This means this mix will have a broader snot and build than the standard poodle while still maintaining that beautiful curly “teddy bear” coat.

Temperament

There’s nothing little about a Mini Labradoodle’s personality! This breed is brimming with love and life. They are also known for being very intelligent which makes them easily trainable and with a disciplined owner, and exceptionally well behaved. However, Mini Labradoodles are known to have a playful and even rambunctious side so creating boundaries and providing proper exercise will be important to keep a Mini Labradoodle well adjusted!

Miniature Poodles have a tendency to be wary of strangers while a Lab can sometimes be protective of other dogs. Either of these traits could be passed along to a Mini Labradoodle. Early socialization can help prevent them from becoming suspicious or defensive. In general, this breed is a wonderful family dog who is amiable, affectionate and animated.

Puppies and Costs

A Mini Labradoodle litter will generally produce about 8 pups. Puppy costs can vary by pedigree, location and color along with several other factors. A Mini Labradoodle can range in price from a couple hundred to even a couple thousand dollars.

When it comes to a Mini Labradoodle’s cost, it’s generally all about size. As the name suggests, people searching for this breed are looking for a smaller version of a Labradoodle. The smaller, the better… and more expensive.

Finding a Mini Labradoodle rescue from a local shelter can save you tons of money. Rescues typically just ask for a donation fee which can be tax-deductible (check with your tax advisor) depending on the rescue center’s company formation.

Training

The Mini Labradoodle is a great choice for first-time dog owners! This mix is a generally obedient and trainable mix. Their intelligence allows them to pick up commands and tricks from a very early age.

The earlier you can train and socialize a Mini Labradoodle, the more likely you are to limit unwanted behavior in adulthood. Be that as it may, don’t let this discourage you from adopting an older dog. With patience and dedication, you can train most adult dogs, including the Mini Labradoodle.

Because of their reserved and sometimes protective nature, it’s important to introduce a Mini Labradoodle to many new places and people. Proper socialization will bring out the best of their sociable, easy-going temperament.

The Mini Labradoodle is a sensitive breed who just wants to make you happy, so positive reinforcement is best. However, their eagerness to please will make positive reinforcement a very successful training approach for this breed.

Exercise & Living Conditions

The Mini Labradoodle is an active breed and this should be taken into consideration by anyone looking to add them to their family. Both Poodles and Labradors are vibrant by nature with hunting and sporting backgrounds. The parent breeds thrive when given a job or lots of exercise and this mix isn’t any different.

In general, this breed should have 30 to 60 minutes of vigorous activity per day. Playtime and mental stimulation such as training exercises and interactive toys are recommended as well. This pup can sometimes get into mischief, a trait they get from their Labrador side, and this can worsen if they are not properly stimulated.

Making the Labradoodle more adaptable to smaller living quarters was a strong motivation for down-sizing the breed. Provided this mix receives appropriate exercise, this miniaturized Labradoodle does well in all types of living environments, including apartments!

Size

The size of a Mini Labradoodle may not be as straightforward as the name would suggest. The answer is: it varies widely and depends on which parent they take after. The Labrador Retriever is considered a medium-to-large dog and while breeding a dog of this stature with a small dog like the Miniature Poodle is likely to reduce the size of their puppies, they could still take after their Labrador parent more. This means you may end up with a “Mini” Labradoodle that is a comparable size to a Labrador and any potential owner should be prepared for and accepting of this.

However, this breed is likely to be somewhere in between a Miniature Poodle and Labrador, typically sizing in at 14 to 24 inches tall and 10 to 30 pounds. If you are adamant about your pup being of small stature, there are a few things you can do to ensure your pup lands on the lower end of the measurements above.

Similar to the Australian Labradoodle, some breeders will add a third breed into the mix, usually a Cocker Spaniel or Australian Shepherd. They breed this smaller dog with a Lab. This miniaturized Lab mix will mature into the breeding female who is then paired with a male Poodle. Their offspring will be consistently smaller than a purebred Lab and purebred Poodle mix.

Another option is purchasing a second-generation Mini Labradoodle. If the parents are two smaller-sized Mini Labradoodles, the chances of them also being tiny increases significantly.

Health

A healthy, well cared for Mini Labradoodle has a life expectancy of 12 to 14 years. Luckily hybrid vigor allows some resistance to inherited conditions from their parents. The main issues to look out for in a Mini Labradoodle are obesity, Exercise-Induced Collapse, progressive retinal atrophy, hip dysplasia, and bloat.

 Understanding these conditions and their symptoms helps a Mini Labradoodle owner stay on top of their pup’s health. Providing regular checkups, preventative healthcare, and staying up to date with vaccines and immunizations are also important in caring for a healthy and happy dog.

Nutrition

Because this breed varies so widely in size, the amount of food required will naturally vary as well. Other factors like activity level should also be taken into consideration. On average, 1 to 2 ½ cups of quality, grain-free dry food should be sufficient.

The Mini Labradoodle is prone to boat and obesity, both food-related diseases and therefore their nutrition intake should be closely monitored. Providing meals through a slow feeder is an excellent idea and strongly recommended.

Many dog food brands will have a size-based feeding guide listed on their product, which can be helpful but is ultimately just a guideline. You’ll want to check with your vet to make sure your puppy is getting an adequate amounts of protein and calories.

Coat & Colors

A Mini Labradoodles coat comes in many different colors and textures. This mix could have a shorter, double Labrador coat or a long, curly Poodle coat. In general, they are usually somewhere in between while still showcasing those distinctive Poodle curls.

Both Labs and Poodles are commonly found in many different colors, so it’s truly a guessing game with what color a Mini Labradoodle might be. Usually their coat will be a solid color of any of the following: yellow, golden, chocolate, black, blue, brown, gray, or white.

Poodles are notorious non-shedders but Labs shed quite a bit. While this dog was bred with the purpose of being hypoallergenic, because there is always a possibility she could inherit a Labrador’s heavy shedding, this pup cannot definitely be considered an allergy-free dog and usually exhibits light-to-moderate shedding.

Grooming

Mini Labradoodles are a fairly high maintenance breed and require frequent, sometimes daily brushing and regular trimming. The signature Poodle look is a highly groomed version of an otherwise long and shaggy coat. If a Mini Labradoodle inherits a poodle coat you can expect regular grooming appointments to keep her coat neat, clean and at a manageable length. Left to its own devices, this coat can easily become tangled and matted.

As with any dog,their nails should be clipped or grinded down with a nail grinder or twice per month to keep paws clean and healthy.  Because this breed requires regular grooming, their routine should begin when they are just a few weeks old and should always be a positive experience to avoid creating a negative association with an activity they will be subjected to so frequently.

As Family Pets

The Mini Labradoodle is a small dog with a big heart. Did it steal yours? Here’s a summary of what we’ve learned:

  • Mini Labradoodles may grow and you should be prepared for the possibility of a Lab-sized pup.
  • This mix loves to play and does well in an active family that can satisfy their needs.
  • They can be rambunctious and can develop bad habits such as chewing and digging.
  • They are extremely trainable and has become a more allergy-friendly service dog option.
  • Although they are a better alternative for those with allergies, it’s not a fully hypoallergenic breed.
  • Be prepared for lots of grooming and make sure you’re willing to keep up with this routine.
  • This mix is very affectionate, friendly and does well with children.
  • The smaller stature in comparison to the standard Labradoodle makes it great for small spaces.

It’s hard not to love all that this adorable breed has to offer. If you’re sold on the Mini Labradoodle, next you’ll want to research a reputable breeder or adoption organization.

Finding Mini Labradoodle

Mini Labradoodles are quite popular so finding a breeder shouldn’t be hard. A simple internet search can put you in touch with dozens of potential breeders. However, because of the Mini Labradoodle’s popularity, there is a higher chance for unscrupulous breeders with questionable practices that are in it for the money. Make sure you do your research prior to reaching out to ensure you find a a breeder you can trust.

You can always search your local shelters for your pup. Finding a Mini Labradoodle rescue to adopt may be worth your effort. Thanks to online rescue sites, this search is made easier due to the site’s ability to apply breed and location parameters. This cost-effective alternative gives otherwise scared and lonely dogs a deserving home.

Final Thoughts

Sometimes great things come in small packages and that’s certainly the case for the Mini Labradoodle. The perfect alternative for anyone looking for the love, devotion, and warmth of a Labradoodle in a slightly smaller pup. This goofy, apartment-approved hybrid will bring joy to any family!

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